Folk-Lore/Volume 1/Notes and News (December)


Among forthcoming papers in the next number (March 1891) will be Mr. Gomme's annual address to the Folk-lore Society for the session 1890-91; conclusion of Hon. J. Abercromby's "Magic Songs of the Finns"; Dr. Gaster's paper on the Holy Grail; Mr. Joseph Jacobs on "Childe Rowland", and two Reports on Recent Research; Mr. Cecil Smith on Greek Archaeology, and Mr. E. S. Hartland on Folk-tales.

Mr. E. Sidney Hartland's book on "The Science of Fairy Tales" will be ready by Dec. 10th. It will be eagerly welcomed by old readers of The Folk-Lore Journal and The Archæological Review, who have enjoyed a foretaste of its contents.

There is a distinct interest aroused in the English Folk-tale, the very existence of which has hitherto been doubted. Besides Mr. Hartland's and Mr. Jacobs' books on the subject, Mr. W. N. Newell, the erudite secretary of the American Folk-lore Society, is collecting English Folk-tales found in America.

Professor Rhys's important work on Arthur will be issued by the Clarendon Press before Christmas.

Dr. Douglas Hyde's collection of Irish Tales, with Mr. Alfred Nutt's annotations, will be also issued before the end of the year.

The science of Folk-lore has lost one of its old masters in the last quarter. Felix Liebrecht, born 1812, Professor at Liège between 1849 and 1867 (the former date indicates political sympathies that caused him to leave Germany for a time), and then "privatgelehrte" till his death this summer. These are the landmarks of a life devoted to comparative literature and folk-lore. His chief works were a translation of the Pentamerone, in 1846; an essay on Barlaam, 1847; a translation of Dunlop’s Prose Fiction, with valuable notes, 1851; a selection from Gervasius of Tilbury, 1856. But his varied powers and wide erudition were shown to still greater advantage in his collection of short essays and studies, “Zur Volkskunde”, 1879. Folk-tale, superstition, myth, folk-song, custom, chap-book, or lives of the saints, he had something instructive and interesting to say on each and all of these. He contributed some interesting notes to the Folk-lore Record, and was a member of the Folk-lore Society till his recent mental illness. The catalogue of his library, sold before his death, was a monument of painstaking collection, and the best substitute for a list of Best Books on Folk-lore in existence.

With the present number, Folk-Lore concludes the first year of its existence. It must be left to our readers to judge how far it has fulfilled the promises held out in the opening editorial. If the judgment is in any degree favourable, that must be set down largely to the generous co-operation given by a somewhat limited number of workers. It is hoped that in the future the example of these gentlemen, mostly members of the Council of the Folk-lore Society, will be followed by other members of that Society. In particular, help will be welcome in making the bibliography as complete a record as possible of the current literature on Folk-lore.

The opening meeting of the Session of 1890-91 of the Folk-lore Society was held on Nov. 19th, when Mr. G. L. Gomme, the Director of the Society, in the unavoidable absence of its President, read the Annual Address.

Communications for the next number of Folk-Lore must reach the Office, 270, Strand, W.C., before Feb. 1st, 1891.